DENVER, CO – Colorado legislators, adult consumers and representatives from the distilled spirits industry gathered today at Argonaut Liquors to sample America’s finest Bourbons and Caribbean Rums in honor of the first in-store distilled spirits tasting in Denver since Prohibition. “Across the country, adult consumers are fascinated by the revival of the cocktail culture,” said Berman Obaldia, Vice President of the Distilled Spirits Council, the trade association for distillers that supported the change. “With the increasing popularity of spirits and cocktails, adult consumers’ palates have become more and more discerning. Tastings are a consumer-friendly way to introduce new spirits products as well as existing brands that may be new to adult spirits connoisseurs.” Under the 2004 tastings law, the Colorado Legislature amended the state’s liquor laws to allow local municipalities to decide whether to hold spirits tastings in off-premise retail stores. It made Colorado one of 25 states nationwide —and nine in the past five years — to allow spirits tastings at a retail liquor store. The Denver City Council voted to initiate a pilot tastings program in April of this year. Ron Vaughn, owner of Argonaut Liquors, said he was thrilled to host this historic event at his store. “For as long as I can remember, our customers’ noses and palates have been curious about the bottles on our shelves,” Vaughn said. “It’s very hard for us to help a consumer make a decision without allowing them to experience and appreciate the spirits. These tasting events will definitely be valuable to my customers and my business.” At the event, adult consumers enjoyed a limited number of samples — totaling no more than 1.5 ounces — of premium and superpremium Bourbons and Rums including Maker’s Mark, Woodford Reserve, George Dickel 12 year, Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit, Knob Creek, Mt. Gay Rum Extra Old, Bacardi 8 and Cruzan Estate Single Barrel. The legislation requires that a retail store submit an application to their local licensing authority to conduct a tasting. The employees of the store who will be serving the spirits are required to complete a server training program, just like the ones given to bartenders. Tastings cannot exceed five hours and may be conducted until 7 pm. The distilled spirits industry is a key part of the state’s hospitality industry, generating $1 billion in retail sales and contributing $43 million in excise and sales taxes to the state of Colorado.